Havanese – The Complete Breed Guide

Havanese from Hazel

Welcome to our complete guide to the Havanese.

The DogExperts.info website aims to ask questions to breeders, vets and experienced owners to get the answers to your most frequently asked questions about the Havanese breed of dog.

You can also help too!

If you can answer any of the questions below, then please add your comments to the box at the bottom of the page or you can email us at sales@dogexperts.info.

We would love to feature your dog and publish any photos or pictures of your Havanese you would like to email us.

Are you looking to buy a Havanese – then see our list of Havanese breeders.

Havanese Owner Interview

Let’s get to know Anna and her Havanese who she calls “Pepsi Max.”

Anna, can you tell us where you live and how long have you owned a Havanese and where did you buy him from?

I live in Melbourne Australia. I have owned Pepsi from when he was 8 weeks old. He is now 5. We picked up Pepsi from an Australian breeder (Rhumderry Havanese). His father was an American import and show champion.

From your experience what makes this breed so special?

The Havanese are not very well known here in Australia but I am so glad I discovered them via an online search quiz to see what dog would best suit my needs. They are just so fun loving, great companion dogs and love to entertain you. To top it off they don’t shed hair and their coat doesn’t smell like many other dogs.

Pepsi Max, cropped

Pepsi Max – Photo by Anna


What type of personality/temperament do they have?

Pepsi’s personality and temperament is well suited to first dog owners like myself. The Havanese are very smart and learn fast if you’re willing to put in a little effort. He was toilet trained in a couple of weeks and he loves performing tricks. He is very sociable and loves children and other dogs. He also loves playing games like digging under blankets first thing in the morning when he wakes up. It’s like he snorts and laughs and it’s such a great way to start my day.

I believe the Havanese is quite a popular dog on social media/Internet these days, can you tell us how this started?

I created a Facebook page and later Instagram to document most of the many photos I take of him every week. It’s quite a lot of fun to write posts from his perspective. We now also have another page where Pepsi is the CFO (chief fur officer) of a small business I started that makes cooling bandanas for dogs to keep them cool in the summer heat.

Pepsi Max The Havanese Dog

Pepsi Max – Photo by Anna

What are your feeding routines, such as how often and what types of food do you feed your Havanese?

Pepsi loves his food and we feed him 3 small meals a day rather than one huge meal. He has a very small breakfast of dry good quality kibble. For lunch he will have a little handful of a home cooked meal that consists of boiled chicken, pumpkin, beans, celery, carrot (I freeze a big batch of this). His dinner is a raw BARF (biologically appropriate raw food) meal of raw kangaroo mince which has crushed bones, eggs and other things.

Have you encountered any health issues?

Generally Pepsi is in good health. He did have a little problem when he was about 1 year old and he was doing zoomies in the back yard and injured his leg. He has a luxating patella but luckily it has not been a problem again and he did not need surgery. I made sure he did a few exercises during his recovery to strengthen his leg muscles. Things like walking up the hills and lots of sit commands…kind of like us humans doing squats and strengthening our legs. He also gets a little glucosamine and green lipped mussel powder on his dinner.

Pepsi Max The Havanese Dog2

Pepsi Max – Photo by Anna

Obviously grooming is another major aspect of owning a Havanese. Can you offer any tips, advice and popular accessories for your Havanese?

We take Pepsi to his groomer every 8 weeks for a puppy cut. I find it easier to manage and less brushing is required compared to having a long coat. I love our comb with rotating teeth. It’s great for untangling any knots. I also like to use a dog hair conditioner to help avoid knots, especially in his tail.

Can you offer potential new owners any useful advice or tips?

Any new Havanese owners will absolutely love this breed. They have so much love to give and are a very robust and entertaining little dog

Thanks Anna for this wonderful interview. If you want to find out more, you can visit these pages:



Why Choose a Havanese?

What type of owners buy a Havanese?

What in your opinion are the best things about the Havanese breed?

Hazel Marchbank of Havieras Kennels says “the best things about the Havanese breed are: 1. their complete devotion to their humans – they absolutely fall in love with you; 2. their spirited fun personality; and 3. their adaptability.

Why do you think the Havanese is special?

What are your favourite things about the Havanese?

Are you glad you choose to buy a Havanese and not another breed?

What advice might you give to people thinking about whether they should buy a Havanese over other breeds?

“Mum and Dad” – Photo by Hazel Marchbank of Havieras Kennels

History & Origins

What are the history and origins of the Havanese?

About The Breed

What does the Havanese look like?

What are the pros/cons of the Havanese breed?

What can a new owner expect in terms of differences between the Havanese and other breeds?

12 week old sable book 1

12-week old “Sable” – Photo by Barbara of Versailles Kennels

Barbara Stapleton of Versailles Kennels says, “I am the UK’s only ever World Winner in this breed. My dogs have produced and become Champions in every continent far more than any other Havanese breeder World Wide. This breed are human loving , they can do anything a German Shepherd can do but at the same time are so loving adoring and caring towards their human family. They do require grooming daily as they cannot shed their coats like most dogs do. They shouldn’t be left alone for more than 3 hours. They are very easy to house train and can eat most diets. Some may have allergies if the breeder hasn’t done their work well.

What colors of Havanese are most popular?

According to Barbara, “Havanese have many colours and some unscrupulous newer breeders are breeding for trends, they are sadly creating colours to buy that will bring disease also. Popular colours are brown, red sable and gold which are naturally occurring within the breed and always have been. No breed should be bred soley to attract buyers and any breeder doing this should be banned from breeding as this amounts to puppy farming. Which should be avoided at all costs.

How would you describe the Havanese temperament?

If bred correctly with two dogs that have no behavioural issues, then your pup should start its life free of many issues. A good breeder will use many forms of socialisation during your pups first few weeks. When visiting have an open mind as there is no difference between genders , both are loving and both will scent in a new home equally. Allow the pup to pick you. Many will nip bite and mouth during teething times but with advice from your breeder then you will get through this easily.All Havanese if bred well are absolute family dogs and will want to be part of your family forever.We at versailles kennels give advice on our website www.versailleskennels.com on what to expect and how to combat issues when bring a new pup home.We also operate www.eurobichons.com an International site for all owners to learn about their dogs health and seek advice 24 hours a day,” says Barbara.

Do they attract a lot of interest and curiosity from the public?

What type of typical personality does the Havanese have?

Is it possible to describe a fairly typical Havanese?

What is the breed standard/description for the Havanese?

Were there particular colors people preferred and that maybe you focused on?

Are there any downsides to owning a Havanese that prospective owners should be aware of?

Is the Havanese breed of dog suitable for first-time dog owners?

Some breeds can be described as greedy and prone to weight issues, would this apply to the Havanese?

What are the key differences when compared to other breeds?

Is the Havanese a breed suitable for a person or family that are out at work all day?

Some owners seek a breed suitable for barking and offering a guard dog role – how does the Havanese match up to that role?

Are there myths about the Havanese – in other words do new potential owners come to you with misconceptions about this breed?

We asked a number of breeders in the UK and America what essential advice they would give to new owners of Havanese puppies and this is what they said:

What types of questions do you get once owners get their Havanese home?

Can you tell us something most owners would not know – tips, secrets etc from your years of experience?

What is the typical temperament of a Havanese, so people know what to expect from their new pet?

Havanese from Hazel 3

9 Havanese puppies, born on 18 Jan 2017 – Photo by Hazel Marchbank of Havieras Kennels

When fully grown how much on average does a Havanese weigh?

When the Havanese is full grown in size what is the maximum height and length expected to be?

Is the Havanese ever crossed or mixed with other breeds of dog?

Does the Havanese smell or drool a lot?

Do you have a Havanese growth chart?

What breed group does the Havanese come under?

What type of coat do they have?

Can they swim?

What does the movement of the tail show, does it mean they are trying to ‘talk to us’ or give us some message?


Are there some types of people that you can suggest the Havanese is not suitable for, perhaps families?

How is the Havanese with children?

Do you think the Havanese is suitable for families with young children?

How does the Havanese get along with other (existing) pets and do you have any tips or advice for new Havanese owners in terms of successful integration?

Is it better to buy one Havanese or two?

Should prospective new owners be aware of any differences between males and females?

Would the Havanese be suitable as a guard dog?

Can I leave my Havanese during the day while I go to work?


What is the expected average lifespan of the Havanese?

In terms of life expectancy, how long on average would the Havanese breed live to?

Food & Diet

Do you have any special feeding routines or diet?

Do you have any feeding advice or brands that you prefer?

How to handle the Havanese puppy to start off – how much food, what type, how often?

What feeding routines and types of food/supplements do you recommend?

What to buy in terms of equipment? Bowls etc

Do owners need to consider supplements for their Havanese?

How about for older dogs?

Buying – How Much Do They Cost?


Photo by Barbara of Versailles Kennels

How much did your Havanese cost to buy?

Can you offer advice to people looking to buy a Havanese and how much should they spend?

What advice would you offer new Havanese owners?

What types of people are buying the Havanese and why?

Where can I buy Havanese rescue dogs or find a Havanese for adoption? Please note that buying or searching for a ‘cheap’ Havanese can be false economy as they may have health issues that cost you far more in the long-term – always buy from a good and responsible breeder!

How much do Havanese puppies for sale cost on average?

Do I need public liability insurance or a license?



Peluito Havananese puppies (1 week old, 22 February 2017) – Photo by Arlene Etzig (U.S.A.)

How would you describe the Havanese puppy to potential new owners?

What types of owners are best suited to owning a Havanese?

What colors and sizes are most popular?

Are there things new owners do that perhaps frustrate you?

What can people expect when they become a new owner?

What inspired you to become a breeder and did you start with the Havanese?

As a Havanese breed expert, are there any ‘essential’ tips you would like to share with new owners?

Are there specific times of the year that you breed?

Choosing a puppy from a litter, what advice could you offer potential new owners in terms of selecting ‘the one’?

How long does it take to housetrain/potty train a Havanese?

When can you take them out in public and how do you handle them around other dogs?

Will they run off – when is it safe to let them off the lead?

We invite you to email us your Havanese’s pictures, in particular we are looking for photos showing Havanese puppies at 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 weeks old as well as early pictures such as 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 months old to a year old.

Do they have any nicknames or does the Havanese have popular names?

If my Havanese is pregnant what might the litter size be?

Could the Havanese be dangerous around young children?

Problem Behaviors

How do you deal with a problem barker – any tips and advice to new owners?

How do you prevent a Havanese biting?

How do you prevent a Havanese chewing?

How do you stop a Havanese jumping up?

Does the Havanese have an issue with excessive digging?

Why does my Havanese keep growling and barking?

Is there a reason my Havanese dog is often scratching excessively?

Do they suffer from separation anxiety and how can I prevent this?


In comparison perhaps to other breeds what can you say about the Havanese and their exercise needs and do you have any tips or advice for new Havanese owners?

As a breeder of the Havanese, do you prefer a collar or harness?

As an expert of the Havanese breed do you prefer a standard leash or retractable?

Can you offer any dog walking tips for Havanese owners?

Playtime & Tricks

What games and toys can you recommend for the Havanese?

Are there toys you suggest avoiding?

How intelligent is the Havanese compared to other dog breeds?

How much can they understand?


Do you have any special grooming routines or tips and advice for new Havanese owners?

How much time is involved?

What accessories are required to be purchased for grooming a Havanese?

Any advice/tips you can give concerning maintenance of nails?

How much do Havanese shed and how do I maintain their hair and how often?

How can I prevent or cure ear infections?

Do you have any tips for eye care?

Is the Havanese a hypoallergenic breed?



7-month old “Archie” – Photo by Barbara of Versailles Kennels

Any advice/tips you can give concerning cleaning and bathing your Havanese?

They do not require constant weekly bathing. This can destroy a coat. They require daily brushing and a once a week quality comb through to catch those hairs. They shouldn’t be exposed to excessive perfumed products especially under 12 months of age as this will invariably encourage allergies. If you want your Havanese to smell of Chanel then buy a doll, a dog’s coat contains sebum, a naturally production of conditioner, brushing encourages its production. This keeps a coat waterproof, cool and oiled. Some will get tatty, if your dog does then do not spend hours attempting to get each tat out, this HURTS I would in this case advise shaving off, it grows back. BUT, your dog will lose some confidence in initial few days, then bounce back once it realises those tats do not hurt or itch anymore. Shaving does not structurally alter the coat,” added Barbara Stapleton of Versailles Kennels.

Can you offer new Havanese owners advice concerning fleas and maybe products you use in treatment and prevention?


What advice and tips could you offer to owners who might wish to follow your path in showing the Havanese?

What started your interest in showing the Havanese?

If a new owner perhaps wanted to meet other owners or find out more – perhaps they have an interest in joining a local club or maybe they wonder how they can start showing their Havanese – where would they begin?

Can you offer any advice to others who may be wondering if they can also start showing?

How would an owner know they have a show-quality Havanese and how would they start off?

Can you give away any of your secrets?!

Is showing very expensive and why do you think people like to do it?

What do judges look for in a winner?


What inspired you to become a breeder and did you start with Havaneses?

What official organisations are there for the new Havanese owner and what benefits or services do they provide?

In buying a Havanese, can you offer advice and tips to new owners?

How did you go from being an owner to getting into breeding?

Do you think the breed’s popularity has increased, decreased or remains the same?

How did you progress to becoming a breeder and why focus on breeding the Havanese out of all the breeds you could have chosen?

What do you think makes the Havanese special to you?

Are there things that you see owners doing that frustrate you?

As a breed expert, are there any ‘essential’ tips you would like to share with new owners?


In comparison perhaps to other breeds what is it like to train a Havanese and do you have any tips or advice for new Havanese owners?

How should new owners approach bringing a new Havanese home, any advice and tips you can give?

Should I allow my Havanese to sleep in my bed or elsewhere in the house?

Do you recommend crate training and how long does this take?

Should my Havanese sleep in a kennel or crate?


Health is always a major concern when buying a dog, do you have any advice for new Havanese owners to be aware of in particular?

Are there any health-related tips you can give to owners?

What sort of health issues should owners be on the lookout for?

What is the recommended schedule for vaccinations for your Havanese?

Can you offer any advice on how to treat and prevent worms?

What type of health issues can a Havanese have and how do you deal with preventing these?

Why does my Havanese have diarrhea?

Do they suffer from itchy and sensitive skin and if so why?

Why is my Havanese vomiting and do I go to the vets?

When should I take my Havanese for vaccinations and which ones do they need and how often?

How often will my Havanese be in heat?

Should I consider getting my Havanese spayed or neutered and when and how much does this cost and what are the benefits?

My Havanese is limping, what should I do and should I go to a veterinarian surgeon?

Do they suffer from allergies?

Why is my Havanese not eating?

How much does it cost to insure my Havanese?

What healthcare issues or diseases might be excluded from companies that provide Havanese dog health insurance?

Old Age

What age would you class as an ‘older or senior’ Havanese?

Do you notice any changes in their behaviour?

What changes in food and diet would you suggest making for an older Havanese?

Do you feed any supplements to an older Havanese – or anything else which helps them as they age?

Are there any health issues particular to a senior Havanese dog?

Do you have any advice for owners of an older/senior Havanese or tips you can pass on?

See more of the Havanese in action through the video below.


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